As any season approaches its conclusion, one may wonder when it's acceptable to relax the atmosphere of a team and simply "let them play" for the remainder of the games. The short answer is never. The Stoics and behavioural science offer deeper insights into this matter.
Diogenes, a Stoic philosopher, was advised to rest more in his old age. His response was resolute: he would never rest because there were always more goals to achieve. True to his words, he continued to question convention, challenge power, and insist on truth until the end of his life. So, until the final whistle blows or the locker room is cleared out, it is vital to continue teaching, coaching, and competing.
Another Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, believed that old age, the end of a season, or a blowout game should never serve as an excuse to coast or relax the developmental and competitive culture. He refused to stop learning, writing, "no matter how old we are, no matter how long we've been at this, it's far too early to stop and say, 'close enough'."
In the context of our athletic department, this means we should constantly strive to become the best version of ourselves and search for the most effective ways to teach and perform, regardless of the stage of the season.
Both experienced and rookie coaches should continuously explore the most effective methods to reach their staff and athletes, regardless of the time of year. This doesn't imply that coaches should be overly active and distract athletes during competition. Instead, it means coaches should be unwavering teachers, coaches, and leaders for the team, exhibiting appropriate actions at the right times. Think of it as perseverance—a crucial component of peak performance. Diogenes and Marcus Aurelius exemplified this quality.
Great coaches are ruthless in their approach to improvement, and like great athletes they are never OK with 'OK'. At all times there must be a pursuit of committing to excellence.
At Athlete IQ, we believe in the Before, During, and After approach to athletic development. It means preparing meticulously, competing in the present moment, and evaluating controllable factors after each performance. As coaches and athletes, we must be mindful of our circumstances, accept them without judgment, and take action that positions us to perform at our best. The scoreboard, clock, or season schedule should not dictate our effort, enthusiasm, and energy. Whether we are preparing for a championship run or simply finishing the season schedule, we have the power to determine how we think, feel, and act at all stages of the season. We must respect each practice and every game, striving to be our best at all times.
NEVER STOP TRYING TO GET BETTER